I have made this soup for a number of years now, changing it up as I go along according to the seasons. This is the light bright spring version using Pak Choi, Greens and Cilantro that I had growing in my garden. One doesn't usually think soup in spring or summer, however this one is very fresh and light and makes use of springs bounty of ingredients. It can be made with the protein of your choice, vegetarian or otherwise. When I make this soup in the winter I add Gluten Free Ramen Noodles or you could use spiraled sweet potato or carrot noodles. Add them the last 10 minutes of so of cooking the soup. This version(pictured) does not include noodles.
In a deep soup pot heat the oil over medium low heat and add the shallots and sauté until softened about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the straw like end of the lemongrass to reveal the pale green inner core. Remove the hard woody end of the lemongrass. This should leave you with about 2-3 inches of lemongrass. Chop each section into about 4 so you have a about 8-10 pieces. With the side of your chef's knife press your palm(palm safely resting on the side of the blade) down and bruise the lemongrass pieces. This will allow the lemongrass flavours to seep into your broth as it cooks.
Add the garlic and the chillies to the shallots and sauté for another minute or two. Add the sliced ginger, lemongrass and chicken thighs. If you are using salmon you will need to wait until closer to the end of the cooking time as fish cooks very quickly. Then add the broth/stock or water and turn the heat up to high. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down to medium low and allow it to simmer for at least 45 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the lemongrass. You can leave it in but it's texture is quite firm and woody in the soup. Remove the whole chicken thighs and allow to cool a bit. Once cool, shred and add back to the soup. Add the coconut milk and fish sauce. At this point you can add salmon if you are using it instead of the chicken and allow to cook about 10 minutes or so then add the bok choi then the greens. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. You want the greens and choi to still be bright green. Add the radishes and cilantro. Serve!
Serving Size 1 bowl